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Russian, European experts hold consultations on Ukraine gas issue

September 04, 2014, 14:48 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
The meeting in Brussels aimed at the analysis of figures with the aim of securing stable supplies of the Russian natural gas to Ukraine and Europe this upcoming winter
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BRUSSELS, September 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Experts from the Russian Energy Ministry, country’s energy giant Gazprom and from the European Commission gathered on Thursday in Belgium’s Brussels for technical consultations on the Ukrainian gas issue.

EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger earlier said that the current expert consultations were held to supplement his last week’s visit to Moscow, where he discussed the Ukrainian gas issue with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

The commissioner said the meeting in Brussels aimed at the analysis of figures with the aim of securing stable supplies of the Russian natural gas to Ukraine and Europe this upcoming winter.

Oettinger visited Moscow last Friday with the aim of discussing with Russia the stalled Ukrainian gas issue. The commissioner held talks with Russian Energy Minister Novak and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller in a bid to find a solution to the Russia-Ukraine gas price dispute.

Following the meeting with Oettinger, Russian Minister Novak said that the date for trilateral talks, which involve Ukraine, Russia and the European Union, on the Ukrainian gas issue would be announced early this week.

However, Novak once again made it clear before the mooted talks that Russia was ready to resume natural gas supplies to Ukraine, if Kiev repays its $2 billion debt.

The Russian energy minister said this figure included Ukraine’s $1.4 billion debt for Russian natural gas deliveries to the ex-Soviet republic in 2013 and partial repayment of the gas debt accumulated from April.

The Russian energy minister also said Russia was prepared to offer Ukraine a gas price discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters, which would not breach contractual obligations and would not contradict Russia’s position in an international arbitration tribunal as this offer was not a corporate discount.

Russia raised the gas price for Ukraine from $268.5 to $485.5 per 1,000 cubic meters from April 2014. Ukraine has said it will not pay for Russian natural gas supplies at such a high price.

After Russia and Ukraine failed to reach a compromise on the gas issue, Naftogaz and Gazprom filed mutual claims to the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal.

Infographics Russian gas in Europe Russian gas in Europe
One-third of gas consumed in EU comes from Russia. Infographics ITAR-TASS
The gas price for Ukraine has increased, in particular, by $100 per 1,000 cubic meters since April 1, 2014 after Russia denounced the 2010 Kharkiv accords on extending the lease of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s base in Crimea in exchange for a gas price discount. The accords were denounced after the Black Sea peninsula joined Russia in the spring of 2014.

Russia also offered Kiev the second discount as part of an anti-crisis aid package for Ukraine in November 2013 but scrapped it from April 1, 2014 over Ukraine’s failure to repay its debts for Russian natural gas supplies.

Gazprom halted gas supplies to Ukraine in June over its unpaid debt and filed a $4.5 billion suit to the Stockholm arbitration court. Later, Kiev reciprocated by sending a suit to the court against Gazprom for making Ukraine overpay $6 billion for gas since 2010, setting too high prices in its contract.

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